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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

‘Stretchers, Screens and Cinema Day: How Medicine and Film Shaped Caregiving in the First World War’ and ‘“Patriotism is Not Enough”: Edith Cavell on Film’ Seminar

16:00 - 18:00
13 February 2018
Turner Sims Foyer Turner Sims Concert Hall Building 52 Highfield Campus SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Malcolm Cook at .

Event details

Part of the Film Research Seminar Series 2017-18. All welcome. This special seminar is presented as part of the ‘Great War: Unknown War’ project and will be followed at 7:30pm by a screening of the 1928 silent film Dawn about the life and death of British nurse Edith Cavell. Further details and free ticket registration can be can be found in the booking link above.


‘Stretchers, Screens and Cinema Day: How Medicine and Film Shaped Caregiving in the First World War’

Throughout the conflict, medicine and film were intertwined in the provision of care for wounded soldiers. Stories about the journeys taken by casualties from the front line to base hospitals, and advances in battlefield medical practices, served as propaganda onscreen. Patients watched restorative comedies and other films from their hospital beds. And doctors recorded men with newly conceived conditions such as shell shock in attempts to understand and treat their trauma. In this paper, Harrison will discuss the intersecting roles of medical practitioners, and filmmakers and exhibitors, in developing a culture of care during the conflict. Paying close attention to the personal testimonies of nurses, medical officers and patients, as well as contemporary films, she will reveal a shared history between medicine and cinema that changed how audiences understood the nature of wartime caregiving. 


‘“Patriotism is Not Enough”: Edith Cavell on Film’

Nurse Edith Cavell’s execution in Brussels in 1915 offered the opportunity for extensive propaganda by Allied governments, which emphasised the contrast between Cavell as a figure representing maternal Christian femininity and the ‘brutal’ implications of German militarism. This talk will consider some examples of this propaganda, focussing particularly on the various cinematic representations of her story which circulated in Britain and Belgium both during the war and during the ten years after the armistice.

Speaker information

Dr Rebecca Harrison, University of Glasgow. Lecturer (Theatre, Film and Television Studies)

Dr Lawrence Napper, King's College London. Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

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